Flora Ghebali, the Parisian who wants to change the world, by changing companies

Flora Ghebali at RaiseLab, for a meeting with “20 Minutes”. – Aude Lorriaux / 20 Minutes

  • Flora Ghebali has just been released by Editions de l’Aube My generation will change the world, a call to companies to “politicize”.
  • The 27-year-old defends herself from being the spokesperson for a whole generation, but only “people aware” of her age, she explains to 20 minutes.
  • Flora Ghebali has acquired the conviction that change will come from businesses and citizens, not from the State, after a visit to the Elysee Palace. Since then she founded her social innovation agency, where she pushes the solutions she believes in.

She has eyes that sparkle with intelligence and liveliness and seems to be able to talk for hours when someone throws her on a subject she loves. “She” is Flora Ghebali, pure Parisienne who has just been published by Editions de l’Aube My generation will change the world, a plea to give meaning to our work, our businesses and political action. We meet this 27-year-old young woman at RaiseLab, a place with a refined design that welcomes start-ups and large companies, where her “social innovation agency” has taken up residence.

Very quickly, we enter the subject that interests us, her manifesto book, in which she tries to convince that the company “must become politicized”. For Flora Ghebali, what is called “corporate social responsibility”, abbreviated “CSR”, must become the raison d’être of companies, and not just a “supplement of soul”. “Each department must have a CSR vision. And on the other hand, the social and solidarity economy is too marginalized from society, ”she said.

At 27, Flora Ghebali seems very sure of herself, but nevertheless defends herself from expressing anything other than “her truth”. She goes so far as to say: “The title is selling with a ‘putaclic’ tendency, it catches the eye and it serves my interest, but beware, it’s more of a personal story. “

“It is the people who are aware that will change the world”

We discover it cash and without detour. She easily recognizes it: she has a profile that is representative of part of her generation, not all of her generation. That of the “introvators” that she describes in her book, these young leaders who transform the company from the inside. “It’s the people who are aware that will change the world. Obviously there is not a whole generation in forehead [en avant, sur la ligne de front, en anglais], she said to 20 minutes. I have never succeeded in convincing an entire company, 80% of people do not care ”. And to develop: “The revolution goes from the inside to the outside. My generation understood that if we change our habits, we will change what is around us at the same time ”.

Revolution, the word is out, which resembles it, at least a certain revolution. “She’s a revolutionary”, analyzes one of her friends, Elise Goldfarb, 27, founder of Fraîches, “media committed to inclusiveness”. A character trait that she seems to take from her family, where politics were naturally discussed at the table. And particularly of her grandmother, Eliane Contini, a former journalist who calls herself “feminist” and was “deeply in May 68”. Flora Ghebali has also dedicated her book to him.

For Eliane Contini, her granddaughter has been “in search of meaning” since her childhood. “When she was 14-15, she started volunteering in associations. At 2 or 3 years old, she said she liked politics. “Her friend Elise, who attended high school with her, describes a” rebel “who is very critical of her teachers, of the education system.

Uninhibited capitalist formulas

To make her commitment a reality, Flora Ghebali first attended the Elysee Palace, in the press service, before joining the La France Engages foundation, launched in 2014 by François Hollande, where she aimed to help develop – “To accelerate”, we say in the jargon – of social innovation projects. A real revelation for her, which allows her to find her way, and then to create her own agency, Coalitions, where she provides advice to companies wishing to transform.

Flora Ghebali has uninhibited capitalist formulas – “commitment is profitable”, “diversity accelerates performance” – which she assumes, while rejecting being “neoliberal” or macronist – yet she was a candidate on the lists of Agnès Buzyn in the municipal elections. Her dream: that the company creates meaning, “soft profit” she explains, and not just “hard profit”, ie profits that will go into the pockets of shareholders. She explains that she has to use the jargon of decision-makers to convince. “This book is to convince decision-makers. I’m not talking to my generation because they already know everything I’m saying in this book. “

Her experience at the Elysee Palace, where she came up against the cumbersome administration, was decisive: “On a personal level I had a blast but I found that it was too far removed from the concrete. And then at the same time as the COP21, we signed palm oil purchases with Malaysia… ”Since then, she says she is for a“ facilitator ”State, with local elected representatives in the center:“ A local elected representative who does his job well , he is an elected official who understood that he had to make everyone’s life easier. “

To live in Paris, “you have to be 30 years old and in good health”

She also has a thousand things to say when you connect her to her hometown, Paris, where she still lives, which she finds “harsh, hostile” due to pollution, high rents, bicycles and scooters that jostle the inhabitants. “I have always been a passionate lover of Paris, but for a few years now I have experienced a disappointment with my somewhat dramatic first love, she sums up with humor. To live here, you have to be 30 years old and in good health ”. During confinement, she rented a house in Fleury-en-Bière [en Seine-et-Marne à 50 km au sud de Paris] with friends, to be able to breathe. “She’s a real urban Parisian who has a lot of friends, who goes out, but at the same time likes to take a plane, to go to Barcelona for three days,” says her grandmother, revealing one of her contradictions.

Her friend Elise Goldfarb “admires her determination”, but also sometimes finds it “too intense”, “a flaw that concerns all heroes,” she said. “It is very flammable,” confirms Eliane Contini. Whether his book annoys or excites you, chances are he won’t leave you indifferent. And as her friend says “we haven’t finished hearing about” this Parisian woman who wants to change the world.

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